Born in Queens, New York, Richard Panchyk is the author, editor, or translator of 36 books, featuring more than 3,000 illustrations, 250 activities, and 700 interviews. His books, totaling over 4,000 pages, include 12 books in the “For Kids” series published by Chicago Review Press, 15 history books on New York City and Long Island, and three translations of 1930s German novels into English. His works can be found in library systems in all 50 states, and have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Portuguese. Among the figures he has interviewed for his books are: Kurt Vonnegut, Rudy Giuliani, John Anderson, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Edwin Meese III, Morley Safer, Ken Starr, Robert Morgenthau, Mario Cuomo, Carl Erskine, and Ralph Nader. Some of our most illustrious leaders have contributed forewords, introductions, and quotes for his books, including Former President Bill Clinton, Senators John McCain, Edward Kennedy, Bob Dole, and John Kerry, Governor Michael Dukakis, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Edward Cardinal Egan (former Archbishop of New York). His book World War II for Kids was named a Notable Book of 2003 by the National Council for the Social Studies.
Richard knew he wanted to be a writer by the age of seven. He sold his first "book," a four-page handwritten trivia booklet, to a third grade classmate for a nickel. He wrote his first novel on loose-leaf paper at the age of thirteen, using a leaky ballpoint pen. Richard continued to focus on writing through his years at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. In college, he was Editor-in-Chief of his student newspaper, for which he wrote more than 100 articles and penned a cartoon feature called “Over the Ledge.” He printed a small book of his poems at the age of 19, and published his first book with Van Nostrand Reinhold at the age of 21. He received a Master’s degree in Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst; a degree he put to good use in writing his critically acclaimed book Archaeology for Kids (2001).
He has also written more than 35 journal and encyclopedia articles for volumes including Americans at War, The Encyclopedia of Recreation and Leisure, and The Encyclopedia of American Counterculture.